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UH Hilo to Host Presentation on Multiracial America

The public is invited to attend a presentation on the social and political implications of America’s increasingly multiracial landscape by Dr. Lauren Davenport, assistant professor of political science at Stanford University. Beyond Black and White: The Identity Construction and Political Attitudes of Biracial Americans will be held on Friday, April 7, from 5 –7 p.m. at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Student Services Center Room W-201.

America’s multiple-race population has surged by 106 percent since the 2000 U.S. Census, when Americans were first allowed to self-identify with more than one race. By 2050, an estimated 20 percent of Americans are expected to identify with multiple racial groups. Davenport’s presentation will address several questions, including:

  • How do mixed-race Americans see themselves, socially, culturally and politically?
  • What determines how someone of mixed-race parentage racially self-identifies?
  • What are the repercussions for the broader American political structure?
  • How do people of mixed-race approach various racial and social policies?
  • What is the impact on resources and benefits intended for minority populations?

The event is sponsored by the Chancellor’s Professional Development Fund and organized by the Department of Political Science and the Office of International Student Services and Intercultural Education.

Seating is limited. To reserve a seat, visit http://go.hawaii.edu/jK1. For more information, contact Dr. Su-Mi Lee at sumilee@hawaii.edu. For disability accommodation, contact Disability Services at 932-7623 (V), 932-7002 (TTY), or email uds@hawaii.edu.

Community Presentation – Raising Awareness of Rapid ‘Ōhi’a Death

The Office of Maunakea Management (OMKM), ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center, and University of Hawai‘i at Hilo Department of Physics & Astronomy, continue their community presentations this Thursday, March 23 starting at 7 pm. The free Maunakea Speaker Series will be held in the UH Hilo Wentworth Hall: Room 1. On-campus parking after 4 pm is open and available without charge.

Raising Awareness of Rapid ‘Ōhi’a Death

Dr. Friday will speak on Rapid ‘Ōhi’a Death, a fungal disease that is causing extensive mortality across tens of thousands of acres of ‘ōhi’a (Metrosideros polymorpha) forests on Hawai’i Island. Loss of these native forests threatens native species, watershed protection, landscape and cultural resources. Dr. Friday will provide updates on what is currently known about the pathogens, how the disease moves, how it is being monitored, ongoing research, and measures being taken to limit the spread of the disease.

The Maunakea Speaker Series is a monthly scholar-focused presentation in partnership with the Office of Maunakea Management, ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center and the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo Department of Physics & Astronomy. For more information visit malamamaunakea.org or call 808-933-0734.

Public Comment Period for Draft Environmental Assessment, Maunakea Visitor Information Station

The public is invited to comment on a Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for Infrastructure Improvements at Maunakea Visitor Information Station (VIS). The University of Hawaiʻi Hilo is proposing a set of infrastructure improvements at Halepōhaku to accommodate and address the increase in the number of visitors to the mountain; ensure the safety of visitors and workers; prevent unintended impacts to natural, historic, and cultural resources on the Halepōhaku and adjacent parcels; and comply with the Board of Land and Natual Resources (BLNR)-approved Maunakea Comprehensive Management Plan (CMP).

The Proposed Action includes: a new means of ingress and egress for vehicles to the VIS, a new access lane and parking area, paving of an unimproved path to provide access from the new parking area to the VIS, drainage features, a greenhouse, and relocation of a cabin. Project activities would occur on the university’s leased lands. The access to the ingress/egress and the new parking area would be through access points identified in the Halepōhaku parcel lease.

Improving traffic conditions and visitor access to the VIS is important to maintaining a safe experience for visitors and workers. The CMP states that for safety reasons, all parking should be on the same side of the road as existing Halepōhaku facilities. The proposed infrastructure changes improve access and safety for visitors and workers by adding ingress and egress routes that facilitate traffic flow and building a new VIS Parking Area. The purpose of the project is to replace unsafe, ad hoc, road shoulder parking that is resulting in degraded conditions, and provide for safe access to the VIS from the new parking lot.

Comment period

The public comment period runs 30 days from March 8, 2017 to April 7, 2017. Comments may be submitted via email to: comments@srgii.com or via regular mail to: Attention: Maunakea VIS Infrastructure Improvements Draft EA Comments, Office of Maunakea Management, 640 N. Aʻohoku Place, Hilo, HI 96720.

See Draft Environmental Assessment

UH Hilo Student Pharmacists Named in National Residency Competition First Round

Student pharmacists from the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo were “matched” with residency programs in round one of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) Matching Program. More students from the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy (DKICP) have a chance to be placed when the second group of matches is announced after April 12.


Residencies are highly competitive opportunities for Pharm.D. graduates to build on their education in a clinical setting with an experienced mentor. The ASHP Resident Matching Program (the “Match”) places applicants into pharmacy residency training positions in the United States. The Match includes both postgraduate year one (PGY1) and postgraduate year two (PGY2) pharmacy residencies.

About two-thirds of the 5,752 applicants nationwide were successfully placed in round one. Twenty-eight student pharmacists from DKICP participated in round one of the Match, with 13 placed. The remaining 15 students will have to reapply to be eligible for round two.

The Match, which is administered by National Matching Services Inc., is sponsored and supervised by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP).

Successful applicants thus far include:

Class of 2017 – Year One Residencies (PGY1): Trenton Aoki, Providence St. Peter Hospital, Olympia WA; Mark Allen Bibera, University of California Davis Health System, Sacramento, CA; Megan Calderwood, Indian Health Service, Gnome, Alaska; Mari Louise Cid, University Maryland School of Pharmacy, Baltimore, MD; Christopher Diaz, University of Washington Medicine, Seattle, WA; Tiajana Gonzales, Samford University McWhorter School of Pharmacy, Birmingham, AL; David Khan, Indian Health Service, Gallup, NM; Kelsea Mizusawa, University of Hawai’i at Hilo, Hilo HI; Lauryn Mow, Providence Centralia Hospital, Centralia, WA, Nadine So, University of Hawaii at Hilo, Hilo, HI; Zi Zhang, The Queen’s Medical Center, Honolulu, HI; and Nick Nguyen, Genentech, Industry Intership, Palo Alto, CA.

Class of 2016 – Year Two Residencies (PGY2): Walter Domingo Stanford Health Care, Stanford, CA. Specialty: Oncology; Alex Guimaraes, Fellowhip Tricore Reference Laboratory Clinical Translational Care Fellow, University of New Mexico College of Pharmacy, New Mexico; Jairus Nathan Mahoe, Palomar Health Escondido, CA. Specialty: Health System Pharmacy Administration; Bert Matsuo, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA. Specialty: Cardiology.

Class of 2011: Matthew Kirkland, Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System, Biloxi, MS. PGY1 with Mental Health Focus

DKICP/QMC – Year Two (PGY2): Christine Luong, The Queen’s Medical Center, Honolulu, HI. Specialty: Critical Care.

ʻImiloa Astronomy Center Announces First-Ever Endowment Gift

The legacy of the late educator and government planner Ilima Piʻianaiʻa is being celebrated through the establishment of a new endowment at the ʻImiloa Astronomy Center in Hilo.

Gordon Piʻianaiʻa of Honolulu and Norman Piʻianaiʻa of Kamuela have made a gift through the University of Hawaiʻi Foundation to create a new permanently endowed fund to honor their sister and expand access to educational programming at ʻImiloa by K-12 students.

“Just as we are marking the 11th anniversary of our opening, ʻImiloa is thrilled to have our very first permanent endowment, a fund that will benefit the center in perpetuity and enable us to share our unique brand of programming with both current and future generations of young people,” said ʻImiloa Executive Director Kaʻiu Kimura. “We are humbled by the Piʻianaiʻa family’s vote of confidence in ʻImiloa and excited about what this will mean in our second decade and beyond!”

UH Hilo Chancellor Donald Straney added, “This wonderful gift will benefit the children of Hawaiʻi for years to come.”

About Ilima Piʻianaiʻa

Born and raised on Oʻahu, Ilima Piʻianaiʻa (1947–2006) pursued a noteworthy career in the public sector, starting with her service as a Hawaiʻi County planner helping to develop a general plan for the island. She later served with the Hawaiʻi Community Development Authority and worked on the Kakaʻako Improvement District, among other projects.

Ilima Piʻianaiʻa

She lectured in geography and planning at UH Mānoa from 1980 to 1984, administered the Task Force on the Hawaiian Homes Commission from 1982 to 1983, then held appointments as Hawaiʻi County deputy planning director, director of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, director of the Office of International Relations and Affairs, and deputy director of the state Department of Agriculture.

Norman Piʻianaiʻa commented about his sister, “Even though Ilima was from Honolulu, she loved the Big Island and its people. She moved here around 1970 and mentored in the planning department under Director Raymond Suefuji during the days of Mayor Shunichi Kimura, a time when things were in a process of great change in Hawaiʻi. With ancestral roots firmly planted here, we are confident that Ilima would be pleased to know she has in this way returned and will continue to help nurture and contribute to the future education and development of Hawaiʻi Island youngsters.”

A longtime friend of Ilima, Deanne Lemle Bosnak, remembers her as “a perfect embodiment of ‘aloha.’ She personally represented Hawaiʻi’s beautiful blend of cultures, its warm hospitality and its welcoming aloha spirit. She was also a diplomat who worked hard to build bridges between disparate communities and cultures, demonstrating in everything she did a deep respect for the land and the values of its people.”

Annual distributions from the Ilima Piʻianaiʻa Endowment will support access to ʻImiloa by local elementary, middle and high school students, and may include subsidized admission and or transportation to the center, subsidized fees for ʻImiloa programs, and/or program outreach to rural parts of Hawaiʻi Island and the state.

To make a gift to the Ilima Piʻianaiʻa Endowment please visit the UH Foundations website.

Benefits of Beekeeping Course to be Held at UH Hilo and Pahoa

The College of Continuing Education and Community Service (CCECS) at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo offers a course on basic beekeeping. Sessions will be held April 4, 11, 18, 25 and May 2 and 4 from 5:30-8:30 p.m. in UH Hilo’s College Hall Room 6, and April 22 and May 6 from 9 a.m.- 3 p.m. at Paradise Nectar Apiaries in Pahoa. Tuition is $120 and includes the text book.

Benefits of Beekeeping is designed for anyone new to bees as well as those who have bees and are interested in new ways to relate to and care for them. Participants will learn about treatment‐free beekeeping practices based on bee biology and how to develop a relationship and understanding of bees, their castes, and the roles each caste contributes to the hive.

Instructor Jen Rasmussen has been caring for honey bees on Hawaiʻi Island since 2008. She has developed various methods of maintaining her hives without the use of chemicals or treatments, and organized the beekeeping program at the Island Princess Macadamia Nut Farm.

Private and non-government employers/businesses may qualify for a 50% tuition waiver through the State’s Employment & Training Fund (ETF). For details, visit
http://labor.hawaii.gov/wdd/home/employers/etf/micro/ and apply at least 10 business days before the start of class.

For more information or to register, contact CCECS at 932-7830 or email ccecs@hawaii.edu.

Health Occupation Students of America at UH Hilo Turns in Strong State Performance

Students from the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo claimed top honors in multiple categories at the 12th Annual HOSA (Health Occupation Students of America) – Future Health Professionals State Leadership Conference held recently on O`ahu.

HOSA at UH Hilo members Leslie Arce, Jerold Cabel, and Marjie Retundo captured 1st place in the Public Service Announcement event with their 30-second PSA on “My Preparedness Story: Staying Healthy and Resilient!”

Individual winners included Chrisovolandou Gronowski in Behavioral Health and Kateleen Caye Bio in Pharmacology. Lark Jason Canico placed 2nd in Prepared Speaking with his topic on “Leadership, Service, and Engagement.”

In other results, HOSA at UH Hilo was awarded Honorable Mention as one of the largest post-secondary chapters in the state. The gathering also elected Canico, the Immediate Past President (local chapter) and Hawaiʻi Island HOSA Regional Coordinator, as the new Hawaiʻi HOSA Post-secondary Vice President.

“HOSA at UH Hilo’s growth and performance over the years has been impressive,” said Dr. Cecilia Mukai, who steps down as faculty advisor at the end of the semester. “I want to thank everyone who has supported this group, which has a positive influence on students pursuing health-related careers.”

The HOSA at UH Hilo team now moves on to the International Conference, scheduled for June 21-24, at Disney’s Coronado Springs in Orlando, Florida.

Message From UH Hilo Chancellor: Reorganization Proposal for College of Arts and Sciences, Town Halls Scheduled

Dear Colleagues,

Chancellor Donald Straney

Attached is the updated proposal and related files for the reorganization of the College of Arts and Sciences. I appreciate your patience with the process.

Vice Chancellor Platz and I have scheduled three Town Hall meetings where we invite you to come to discuss this proposal. Schedule of meetings:

  • Friday, Feb. 24, 3:00 p.m., University Classroom Building, room 127.
  • Wednesday, March 1, 9:00 a.m., University Classroom Building, room 127.
  • Thursday, March 2, 11:30 a.m.,  University Classroom Building, room 111.

We welcome your feedback.

We look forward to further conversation.

Sincerely,

Don Straney

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“Birth Control” for Mosquitoes Targeted at Saving Unique, Imperiled Hawaiian Birds

To protect Hawaiʻi’s unique, imperiled native birds, researchers from the University of Hawaiʻi are teaming up with the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to adapt a ‘birth control’ method used across the U.S. mainland to control mosquitoes. Mosquitos are a nuisance and a hazard both to people and to Hawaii’s native birds, which are in danger of extinction from decades of habitat loss, predation and diseases like avian malaria and avian pox.

Scientists from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo are taking the first steps to adapt a safe, targeted, and efficient mosquito control method known as “Incompatible Insect Technique” to reduce the population of the disease-carrying mosquitoes that harm native birds in Hawaiʻi. Incompatible Insect Technique acts like a birth control method for mosquitoes and it has already been adopted and proven successful around the country and the world to protect human health and quality of life. A similar method has been used in Hawaiʻi for decades to control fruit fly pests which are harmful to local agricultural products.

Mosquitoes arrived in Hawai‘i accidentally in the 1800s and are one reason why about two dozen species of Hawai‘i’s remaining native birds are threatened or on the brink of extinction. Today, most of these birds survive at higher elevations where it’s too cold for mosquitoes. But as the climate changes, mosquitoes are moving up hill and bringing disease with them.

“We are already seeing the loss on Kauaʻi of the safe havens of higher elevation forests for our native birds. Mosquito-spread diseases are decimating bird populations and if we do nothing we could lose several more species in the next 10 years,” said Cynthia King, an entomologist with DLNR/DOFAW.

Just one of the 6 types of mosquitoes found in Hawaiʻi harms native birds – the one called Culex quinquefasciatus. Scientists and conservationists are working together to use a bacteria that is naturally-occuring in fruit flies in Hawaiʻi. It is called Wolbachia, and the research, which will be done in controlled laboratory settings, involves giving the male mosquitoes a different strain of Wolbachia than is normally found in them, to prevent them from producing offspring. To reproduce, most mosquitoes carry a type of this Wolbachia in their system. When male mosquitoes with the different strain of Wolbachia try to mate with females, there are no offspring.

“The process for mosquitoes is very similar to techniques that have been used for many decades in Hawaiʻi to control pest fruit flies for the benefit of agriculture,” said King. “It doesn’t eradicate the insect, but helps to safely reduce the population on a landscape scale without the use of pesticides and without harming any other species.”

The technique will not impact the other five mosquito species present in Hawaiʻi, though researchers hope to learn more in the process about control methods that could be applied to the mosquito species that affect human health. If tests are successful, the team will evaluate how to safely apply this method to Hawaiʻi’s remote native forests where birds still reside.

DLNR and its partners will also continue to evaluate other control options to expand tools available to control mosquitoes in Hawaiʻi.

Suzanne Case, DLNR Chair said, “Controlling mosquito populations will greatly benefit our endangered native birds. Mosquitos have only been here for about 200 years, and our native wildlife has evolved without them over millions of years. While some native species may eat small amounts of mosquitoes, there are no species that depend on them, as even bats are documented to prefer larger prey. Reducing mosquitos is good for nature and people in Hawaiʻi.”

Aviation Caucus Convenes at Hawaii State Capital

A bipartisan group of State Senators and House Representatives along with pilots and aviation enthusiasts today gathered at the State Capitol for the first meeting of the newly formed Hawai‘i Aviation Caucus.

The Hawai‘i Aviation Caucus was established to foster and promote all forms of aviation, to support legislation that creates jobs, improves transportation between the islands and beyond, and bolsters the aviation business climate in Hawai‘i.

Photo via Hawaii Senate Majority

“Aviation is vital to our state’s economy and welfare, so it’s only in our best interest that we work together to ensure that we have a thriving aviation industry here in Hawai‘i,” said Sen. Kai Kahele, who co-convenes the Caucus with Rep. Angus McKelvey.  “This is just the start of a continuous working group that I hope will further engage those who support aviation and want to see it prosper.”

Hawai‘i has a robust aviation history dating back to its first flight in 1910.  Since then, Hawai‘i has played a vital role in the development of both commercial and military air travel. Today, with fifteen public use airports in Hawai‘i, the aviation industry produces over 4,100 jobs and $742 million in economic output.

Hawaii County Nominations Sought for UH Board of Regents

The Candidate Advisory Council (CAC) of the University of Hawaiʻi Board of Regents has re-initiated the recruitment process for a Hawaiʻi County seat on the Board of Regents. Nominations are now being accepted for an interim appointment to the Board of Regents, to begin upon approval and ending on June 30, 2018. Candidates must reside in Hawaiʻi County.

Application materials, procedures and descriptions of regent’s responsibilities are available online at http://www.hawaii.edu/rcac. This information may also be requested by calling (808) 692-1218 or by email at borapp@hawaii.edu.

Applications must be completed and received by CAC by Monday, February 27, 2017.

Members of the UH Board of Regents as well as the Candidate Advisory Council, who represent various constituent groups, serve voluntarily and are not paid.

The advisory council was created by Act 56, 2007 Hawaiʻi Legislature, in conformity with the amendment to Article X, Section 6 of the Hawaiʻi State Constitution ratified by the voters on Nov. 7, 2006. The council is tied to the University of Hawaiʻi for administrative purposes. In 2013, Act 72 was passed to further define the candidate advisory council.

Eight members, including one ex officio, comprise the advisory council. They establish the criteria for qualifying, screening and forwarding candidates for membership on the UH Board of Regents. The council advertises pending vacancies and solicits and accepts applications from potential candidates.

Hawaii Lawmaker Calls for University of Hawaii Consolidation of Administration

Representative Kaniela Ing, a member of the House Higher Education Committee, responded to University of Hawaii President David Lassner’s decision to end the search for a Chancellor of the University of Hawaii – Manoa campus with a call to consolidate the administrative offices.

Rep. Kaniela Ing

Ing stated that regardless of what Lassner intended, his decision to cease the search for a new chancellor raises some important questions on the efficiency and redundancy in the University of Hawaii’s administration.

“If the president or his administration can provide the services assigned to the chancellor, and the university can still function, why does the chancellor’s office even exist in its enormous capacity? This points to a probable waste of taxpayer and student tuition dollars,” Ing said.

Ing noted a stark change between his time as the Student-President of the Associated Students of the University of Hawaii (ASUH) in 2009 and his experience as a legislator today.

“I always felt that the University of Hawaii administration was top-heavy,” Ing said. “When cuts were needed, students and faculty suffer through tuition raises and slashed salaries, while the administration remained bloated. President Lassner’s leadership, through his dual-capacity as Chancellor, has resulted in much greater efficiency.”

Ing is currently writing a House Concurrent Resolution calling for a study to explore the cost savings and other benefits of consolidating the chancellor and president’s offices. Ing claims that this is how the UH administration was structured for most of its existence.

“Tuition and taxes keep rising, making it harder for everyday people to get by. I just want to make sure that working folk’s hard earned dollars are ending up where it counts, and not being wasted in redundant, wasteful, administrative expenses,” he said.

“The last full-time chancellor made nearly $439,000 dollars a year before benefits. Imagine how many students that money could help?”

UH Hilo Adds Thai University to List of Collaborators

The Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy (DKICP) at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo will expand collaborative academic and research projects in Thailand with a new exchange program agreement, made effective February 8.


Khon Kaen University (KKU) in northeastern Thailand has become the fifth Thai university to sign memorandums of agreements (MOUs) with DKICP. Other Thai schools of pharmacy with similar exchange agreements include Chulalongkorn University (2011), Rangsit University (2013), Silpakorn University (2014), and Siam University (2014).

The formal arrangement between the faculty of KKU’s pharmaceutical sciences and DKICP states that the two universities will jointly develop activities based on their academic and educational needs. Collaborations may include the exchange or research materials, support for distance learning courses, organization of joint research programs and the exchange of students, faculty and staff.

“Multiple student and faculty exchanges and visiting lecturers help us broaden our reputation for global pharmacy education and helps our students gain international, inter-professional perspectives both culturally and educationally,” DKICP Dean Carolyn Ma said. “Mutual benefits include research collaboration projects, practice and innovation collaborations, and faculty and preceptor development programs.”

Ma met with officials from KKU late last spring when she was a keynote speaker at the 2016 U.S.-Thai Consortium for Pharmacy Education in Thailand. She was able to tour multiple cities there with Professor and Interim Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Supakit Wongwiwatthananukit when they met with faculty, staff, and students from colleges of pharmacy from Thailand and the U.S.

“When DKICP became a member of the US-Thai Consortium in 2014, we committed to active involvement with colleges of pharmacy in order to give and receive the most out of our interactions,” Wongwiwatthananukit said. “It allows us not only to collaborate with our Thai partners but also to increase association with top U.S. schools, such as the University of Minnesota, University of Texas and Purdue University. The momentum we generate is a good direction for our students and faculty as well as for the visibility of UH Hilo.”

DKICP and KKU also are integrated by educational agreements with the Tsuzuki Education Group. In attending the 60th celebration in Fukushima, Japan last fall, Ma met again with KKU administrators to solidify their interest in proceeding with collaborations between the two universities.

“One great aspect about all these international ties is that we can share intellectual and professional ideas in true academic format. It helps us offer a broader global experience for everyone,” Ma said.

Inaugural Maunakea Speakers Series Begins

The Office of Maunakea Management (OMKM), in collaboration with ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center and University of Hawai‘i at Hilo Department of Physics & Astronomy, is launching a new monthly lecture series giving community members unprecedented access to scholars and their knowledge-based work. The Maunakea Speakers Series brings scholars to Hilo to present on diverse subjects including fauna, biodiversity, climate change, botany, geophysics and other topics; all components of the immense resource diversity found on Maunakea.

“Our intent is to provide thought-provoking lectures and presentations while deepening our collective knowledge and understanding of the resources on Maunakea and strengthening educational opportunities —goals we all share,” said OMKM Director Stephanie Nagata.

Birds of Paradise Lost: Evolution, Extinction and Conservation of Hawai‘i’s Birds

The first program under the Maunakea Speaker Series kicks off with a one-hour presentation, Birds of Paradise Lost: Evolution, Extinction and Conservation of Hawaii’s Birds by Dr. Rob Fleischer, Senior Scientist, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, National Zoological Park. Dr. Fleischer will discuss Hawai‘i’s native birds and how he and his colleagues use DNA methods to study evolutionary relationships, population genetics, diet, and the impacts and mitigation of introduced disease.

Dr. Fleischer’s Smithsonian research involves application of DNA and genetic analyses to studies in conservation, evolution and animal behavior. His research often focuses on the use of DNA and genetics to document changes in genetic variation and to study the evolutionary interactions between hosts, vectors and infectious disease organisms (such as introduced avian malaria in native Hawaiian birds).

The Birds of Paradise Lost presentation will be held on Thursday, February 9 from 7:00 to 8:00 pm at the UH Hilo Science & Technology Building auditorium (Room 108) and is free and open to interested community members. On-campus parking is available without charge.

The Maunakea Speaker Series is a monthly scholar-focused presentation in partnership with the Office of Maunakea Management, ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center and the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo Department of Physics & Astronomy. For more information visit malamamaunakea.org or call 808-933-0734.

University of Hawaii Keeping Close Watch on Impact of U.S. Travel Restrictions

University of Hawaiʻi President David Lassner and the chancellors of the 10 campuses shared a message on January 30 to UH students, faculty and staff.

UH President David Lassner

To our UH System ʻohana:

With the issuance of the recent Executive Order on travel, our first concern is for our impacted students, faculty and staff who are currently abroad or have plans to travel abroad. The situation is fluid as courts weigh in and different guidance is provided to holders of green cards. Out of an abundance of caution, the best advice as of this writing is that individuals with immigrant or non-immigrant visas or with green cards who are originally from the seven named countries (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen) should defer travel outside the U.S.

Our international students and scholar support offices are already reaching out directly to the impacted students and faculty we know of with additional support and guidance. Faculty and scholars from across the UH System with specific questions and concerns about their situation can reach out to our Faculty and Scholar Immigration Services office. Students who have specific questions should reach out to their campus international student service office.

More fundamentally, we stand in support with the broader higher education community in our concern over the impact of this restriction on the free flow of information and ideas that is enriched by our international students and scholars. The University of Hawaiʻi, State of Hawaiʻi and our nation have been immeasurably strengthened through the diversity of the students and faculty we attract. The fundamental values of our nation and our state have long supported the welcoming of others to our shores and embracing them into our communities.

Diverse knowledge, ideas, cultures and perspectives enrich us immensely as we work toward a better future for all. We will support our professional associations and colleagues who are working to promote more effective solutions to keeping our nation safe.

Aloha,
President and Chancellors

Invasive Beetle Species in Hawaii Can Now Be Identified Faster With New Genetic Test

Researchers at the University of Hawaii have developed a new genetic-testing method for identifying the invasive coconut rhinoceros beetle, which promises to be much faster than existing physical identification methods. The new tool, reported in the Journal of Economic Entomology, could be a significant step toward keeping the species–a damaging pest to coconut palm trees that was first seen in Hawaii in 2013–from becoming widespread.

Coconut rhinoceros beetle and a similar species, oriental flower beetle, are nearly indistinguishable until they’ve grown to their later life stages, which makes early detection difficult. Currently, egg or larvae samples from the field had to be raised in a lab until their third life stage, which could take several weeks, before insect scientists could determine which species they were looking at.

However, a genetic testing method known as a multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay, can be used to identify the species with genetic material extracted from samples of the beetles’ eggs, larvae, or excrement. Researchers Shizu Watanabe, Ph.D., and Michael J. Melzer, Ph.D., of the Department of Plant and Environmental Protection Sciences, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, at UH identified genetic markers in the beetles’ DNA that can be used for differentiation via the test. Once samples are received in the lab, the PCR assay can be conducted in just a few hours, Melzer says.

The new method will help “ensure that eradication efforts are being directed at coconut rhinoceros beetle and not oriental flower beetle. This assay will help to prevent any misidentification in the field,” Melzer says. “Such misidentifications might result in resources targeting oriental flower beetle, or worse, ignoring a coconut rhinoceros breeding site because the specimens discovered were identified as oriental flower beetle.”

“For species that require highly technical expertise for identification, molecular assays represent a reasonably straight-forward approach for identification, either as stand-alone assays or in parallel with morphological identification,” Watanabe and Melzer write in their article. “For pests of regulatory concern, rapid and accurate insect identification is essential, and molecular assays can address these needs.”

UH Hilo International Nights 2017

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo International Student Association presents International Nights 2017 on Friday, February 10, and Saturday, February 11, at 7:30 p.m. in the UH Hilo Performing Arts Center. This annual event features performances from around the world and is a favorite among students, the community, and visitors.
This year’s shows feature 15 performances spanning Asia, the Pacific, Europe and the Americas. Crowd favorites such as Tupulaga O Samoa Mo a Taeao representing Samoa, and Taishoji taiko representing Japan, are back. Other performances showcase the unique cultures of the Philippines, France, Micronesia, Ireland, India, Kiribati, Palau, the Marshall Islands, and the US.

Tickets are $12 for General admission and $5 for students, children, and senior citizens. Tickets may be purchased with cash or checks at the PAC Box Office from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Tuesday through Friday, or at the door if tickets are still available the night of the shows. Advance ticket purchase is recommended as tickets typically sell out prior to the shows.

For ticket information, contact the PAC Box Office at 932-7490. For more information, visit http://hilo.hawaii.edu/international/IN.php.

UH Announces Finalists for Dean of the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources

Three finalists have been identified for the position of dean of the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR) and director for Research and Cooperative Extension. The three finalists are scheduled to participate over a three-day period of visits on the Mānoa campus and the island of Hawaiʻi. The visits include department discussions; meetings with senior administrators, faculty, staff, students and internal and external constituents; and a public presentation.

Nicholas Comerford, William Randle and Alan Sams

Campus and community members, as well as the general public, are encouraged to attend.

Campus visit schedule:

Nicholas Comerford, January 30–February 1

William Randle, February 6–8

Alan Sams, February 13–15

“We were fortunate to have received a strong pool of qualified candidates. I would like to thank the search advisory committee for their outstanding work in identifying these three finalists from the pool, and for their efforts and commitment to the search,” said Interim Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Vice Chancellor for Research Michael Bruno. “As always, we encourage UH faculty, staff, students and the public to come out and meet the candidates, and we look forward to receiving their input to assist in hiring the best person for the position.”

For more information about the search process, including a list of the members of the search advisory committee, the campus visit daily schedule and the candidate biographies, see the search website.

Film Festival Health Documentary to be Shown at UH Hilo

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo hosts a public screening of the documentary film “Ola–Health is Everything” on Thursday, January 26, at 5 p.m. in Wentworth Hall Room 1.
The documentary, which premiered at the Hawaiʻi International Film Festival in April 2013, highlights the power of communities to heal themselves, explores how society must rethink what it means to be healthy, and features individuals who bring hope to communities across Hawaiʻi. A Question & Answer discussion with Director Matthew Nagato will follow the screening.

“This film is so important and valuable because it highlights some of the protective factors present in our communities and relevant ways to foster health and healing,” said Dr. Yolisa Duley, East Hawaiʻi Suicide Prevention Task Force Chair and co-chair of UH Hiloʻs Suicide Prevention Committee. “Sadly, suicide is a leading cause of death in our state, and messages of hope such as those portrayed in ‘Ola’ can help people identify ways to reach out and seek support and a pathway to healing.”

The presentation is co-sponsored by the East Hawaiʻi Suicide Prevention Task Force, UH Hilo Student Health & Wellness Programs, and the UH Hilo Nā Kiaʻi O Ke Ola (Guardians of Life) Suicide Prevention Committee.

For more information about the event, email yolisaduley@hawaii.edu or call 932-7848.

UH Researcher: “Marijuana Compounds Show Promise in Treatment of Cardiac Disease”

A Nevada company is hoping to develop new medicines for heart failure using compounds in marijuana and a novel therapy identified by a University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa researcher.

Dr. Alexander Stokes in his JABSOM laboratory.

Dr. Alexander Stokes, assistant research professor in the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology at the UH John A. Burns School of Medicine, obtained a U.S. patent for his novel therapy in 2015.  The patent claims the cannabinoid receptor TRPV1 can be regulated therapeutically by plant-based cannabinoids.

Cannabinoids include psychoactive and non-psychoactive compounds derived from marijuana, both of which have medicinal properties. They exert their effects inside cells after binding to receptor proteins in the cell membranes, such as TRPV1 and the classical cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2.

Pharmaceutical development company GrowBlox Life Sciences LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of GB Sciences Inc., obtained the license for Stokes’ intellectual therapy last December from Makai Biotechnology LLC, a Hawaiʻi-based cardiovascular therapy company founded by Stokes.

“Cardiovascular disease is the leading global cause of death, accounting for more than 17.3 million deaths per year, a number that is expected to grow to more than 23.6 million by 2030,” said Dr. Stokes. In the U.S, he explained, this equates to one in three deaths, about one every 40 seconds, and costs the country approximately $316.6 billion a year.

Patients urgently need new drugs that can prevent or reverse the stages of cardiac disease and heart failure, according to Dr. Stokes. He further explained that TRPV1 is clearly a major cellular receptor involved in the progression to heart failure, and there is great potential for the new, proprietary mixtures within the GB Life Sciences portfolio to regulate the TRPV1 cannabinoid receptor.

GB Sciences said licensing the TRPV1 patent is a major step in its commitment to discovering new drugs that interact with the non-classical cannabinoid receptors, in addition to binding to the better characterized CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors.

“Our vision of novel, patentable cannabis-based formulations in the treatment of major diseases is now married with a proven drug target for modulation of adverse outcomes in cardiovascular disease,” said Dr. Andrea Small-Howard, Chief Science Officer of GB Sciences.

Cannabinoids in native plant extracts exerted a more significant effect on TRPV1 receptors than purified cannabinoids in published research reports.

“GB Sciences believes its cannabis-plant-based approach may provide additional clinical benefits to patients due to the ‘entourage effect.’ In addition, the side effect profiles of cannabis-based therapies have generally been well tolerated,” said Dr. Small-Howard. The “entourage effect” refers to the theory that some cannabis compounds have greater effects on the human body when combined with other compounds than when given alone.

Said GB Sciences CEO John Poss, “This license is an important step in our company’s march to successful drug discovery.  We are very proud of Dr. Small-Howard and her team, and we expect results from this effort that will enable the company to do well by doing good for literally millions of cardiac patients around the world.”